How To Identify And Combat Financial Abuse

Not all abuse is physical. One tough-to-detect method of control and domination is financial manipulation, and victims may not always be aware they’re being exploited.

Girls Just Wanna Have Funds points out signs of financial abuse and suggests ways to fight them. Here are a few types of financial abuses:

* Monitoring purchases and cutting off access to funds. Domineering providers insist on being the sole source of income and treating significant others like children. These abusers might mete out minimal allowances and invade the victim’s privacy by forcing them to account for every penny spent.

* Threatening to leave. Abusers might worm their way into controlling all financial aspects of a significant other’s life, then exploit the victim by threatening to abandon them penniless unless they obey their every command.

* Unwillingness to contribute. Leech-like abusers guilt loved ones into taking care of them, spending their shared income and dragging the couple deeper into debt while making no effort to help out.

Victims can escape the abuse by leaving, reaching out to help from friends or nonprofits or government agencies. If you’re a victim and don’t know where to start, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

Financial Abuse: 6 Signs And What You Can Do About it [Girls Just Wanna Have Funds]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Bsamm09 says:

    I put a roll of quarters in my hand and punch people. Financial Abuse FTW!!!

  2. Guppy06 says:


    Worst. Font. Ever.

    • Thyme for an edit button says:

      I could not even read the original web page.

    • Cat says:
    • kc2idf says:

      It renders okay on Ubuntu, but looks like ass in Windows. I wonder if the blogger does her worn using a Mac? I know that Mac and Windows have significantly different philosophies about how to render fonts.

      • Gingerlatte says:

        Hey there,

        You’re right, I do most of the web development and rendering on a Mac. This is something that I am having my web developer look at so thank you for the feedback.

        On a Mac in Chrome, Safari and Firefox it does look fine but I am starting to see that I may need to see how it renders in Windows.

        • kc2idf says:

          Well hey yourself! It’s nice to meet you.

          Somewhere along the line, I read an article about the differences in how Windows and Mac render fonts. It initially arose while I was looking for info on subpixel rendering. It should turn up if you google that phrase.

          One of the tasty tidbits that came out of it was that Safari on Windows will render the same as on a Mac (go figure!) but that it then ends up looking out of place in a Windows context.

          Anyway, I’m glad I could be of assistance to you in some way.

  3. vorpalette says:

    Definitely been here, although he was definitely making good money and not in debt. He really just wanted me indebted to him so that I couldn’t leave. Working part time retail and going to school full time and all of the stuff he wanted me to pay for got closer and closer to 100% of my income. God forbid I buy something for myself (even the smallest thing), but if I didn’t buy him $200 worth of presents for Christmas, birthday, Hallmark holidays (for which I got next to nothing in return), I was a stupid whore and obviously cheating on him.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I sincerely hope you are out of it. Tell me when and where and I’ll kick him with my sharp skates on.

      • vorpalette says:

        Thanks :) I finally left him three years ago after three years. His mom (who was a wonderful woman) encouraged me to leave him because he took after his dad (to whom she was still married). I ended up applying for part of the GI Bill (Dependents and Survivor’s Benefits) and got a fairly large check every month that I managed to hide from him until I had the money to get an apartment with a friend. Took me a while to move out, unfortunately, as he threatened to shoot anyone who came to help me. And he’s a local police officer! I live in the city he patrols, but I’ve only seen him once since I left (off duty). My future husband is nothing like him, thankfully.

  4. TurboWagon00 says:

    As always, three sides to every story… what if one of the partners is kind, loving, supportive, but has made a series of poor financial decisions over their entire adult life, and is unwilling and unable to get this aspect under control. Some of what the article references seems like legitimate abuse, some of it sounds like hysterics.

    • vorpalette says:

      Having been in this situation, I assure you that none of these are “hysterics.” :

    • pop top says:

      Using “hysterics” to describe an article by a woman who is trying to help other women recognize signs that they’re being manipulated and controlled is probably not the best idea.

      • blinky says:

        victim mentality.

      • kalaratri says:

        It’s gas lighting at it’s finest.

      • obits3 says:

        “woman who is trying to help other women”

        I should be noted that women do abuse men too. Ever seen those Oprah shows where the women kept spending the family into debt? Sound’s like “unwillingness to contribute” to me.

        • pop top says:

          Oh yes, I’m so sorry that I forgot about the men who are abused. You know that it doesn’t happen anywhere near the same amount as women who are abused though. But yes, any time there is a discussion of any subject regarding women, we must always cater to the oft-neglected male minority as well.

          As for your example, that is more along the lines of a compulsive shopper, which isn’t financial abuse in this specific regard. But keep trying to make this about men some more!

          • obits3 says:

            F*ck you!

            I am one of those abused men. As for your “compulsive spending” line, read the OP:

            “spending their shared income and dragging the couple deeper into debt while making no effort to help out.”

          • HogwartsProfessor says:

            Squinko, they’re in as much pain as the women are. Maybe more, because a lot of people don’t believe men can be abused. I bet there are a lot more of them than we know. And with all the horrible women I see, I would not doubt it one bit that they could and do abuse their spouses / SOs.

            I’m a woman btw.

  5. DariusC says:

    That’s why you maintain separate bank accounts and don’t get married. If you love each other, you shouldn’t need to be legally bound to keep loving each other, right? Marriage needs to be abolished. I’ll also settle for abolishing divorce given everyone gets the chance to get out (which most would). The divorce rate, last time I checked, was around 50%. Not exactly love as I know it. Tell the other to chip in half as well, or do it based on percentage of income to bills.

    • pop top says:

      This is all great advice for people who are in abusive relationships!

      • DariusC says:

        Prevention is the best perscription. If you are in a bad situation now, leave. No money is worth mental anguish. Never.

        • pop top says:

          Just telling someone to leave an abusive relationship, while true, means that you’re ignoring a lot of important psychological factors. It would be like telling someone who is clinically depressed to “suck it up”, or something with a phobia to “get over it”. Like you’re saying, it’s best to prevent these things before they happen, which is why we need lists like these. Some people don’t want to tell themselves it’s abuse, so we need to get the word out about it, even though some people may go “WELL DUH OF COURSE THAT’S ABUSE.”

          • obits3 says:

            I’ll admit it was hard to leave my mom (I was staying with her to help her out financially). After she got my Dad’s retirement accounts and declared she didn’t want my help, I left pretty fast. Abuse is tough to get out of when you love the person.

            • DariusC says:

              These days it’s better to be cold so people leave you alone than nice so they take advantage of you. Give people an inch and they take a mile. Even family. Did she at least return your kindness? Even with a thank you or a card? Good judgement is on it’s last leg.

              • obits3 says:

                My mom was very abusive to me as a child. She hit me, would yell at me, and keep me up for hours to complain to me. She stole from me on multiple occasions. I stayed with her for a year after college because I was worried for my family. I wanted to save up enough money to be the safety net if my father lost his job. When he died, I cleared out a few months later. I still see my mom about once a month, but they are short and controlled visits in her house. She does love me, but her clinical depression drove her to an evil place.

            • RayanneGraff says:

              Werd. I was with my abusive ex on & off for years & kept going back to him because deep down, he really WAS a good guy- his problems were caused by drugs & mental illness. He’d have these moments of lucidity where he’d realize how he was acting & he’d be horrified, but then some voice would tell him I was against him, and the abuse would start up again. He’d get help & start taking his meds, be clean for a while, and he’d be doing so good that I felt like it was safe to go back to him. Almost as soon as I would come back though, he’d start spiraling down again & soon things would be right back to the way they were.

              Abusive relationships are a vicious cycle. I kept going back & putting up with it because I loved him so much & I had hope that he’d get better if I just stuck with him, supported him, and helped him any way I could. I WANTED him to be normal so badly that I minimized the abuse & turned a blind eye to all his demons. I did finally get out, but it still hurts to think about him.

    • DariusC says:

      Wanted to add, before I get flamed, that I disagree that couples should get tax discounts for being together. I think the only discount you should be allotted is for children, and that’s because they can’t contribute. Any other perks for marriage should be abolished to ensure that people marry for love rather than benefits (see: military dorms single life vs. off-base contract marriage). Yes, I was military and yes I saw many contract marriages.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      Marriage is not necessary for this kind of abuse, all you have to do is live with someone for this to happen.

  6. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    I expected this article to be about banks.

  7. obits3 says:

    While I am glad that this topic being discussed, I find it insulting that only men are seen as the abusers. Women abuse men too.

    – Monitoring purchases and cutting off access to funds: A women might belittle and complain about every fun purchase her man makes.

    -Threatening to leave: She might threaten to leave and take the kids (thus threatening alimony and child support on the man).

    – Unwillingness to contribute: She might become lazy or complain that her life is so hard while the man is working 10 hour days.

    I’m just saying that is goes both ways…

    • pop top says:

      Those horrible, evil women!

      • MrEvil says:

        Don’t be so quick to pull that sarcasm card. I’m a firm believer that women are just as capable as men in all things, including being manipulative and abusive. I’ve had female family members suffer under similar financial abuse as outlined in the article. But I’ve also seen my dad suffer it in a similar fashion from his second wife. I had another friend whose wife left him and shacked up with another dude within 2 weeks of getting her green card.

        So yeah obits3 is right, its a two way street.

        • obits3 says:

          Thank you. If women want to stop sexism, they need to not be so sexist in articles like this one.

          • The_IT_Crone says:

            I don’t think someone writing an article to her specific audience is necessarily sexist- especially when she’s trying to help people. What have YOU done to help women or men in situations like these? It’s easy to be on a high horse behind a computer.

            • obits3 says:

              The Consumerist article was titled “How To Identify And Combat Financial Abuse” and addressed to an audience of both males and females. GJWHF can write to whoever she wants, but it is in bad taste for the Consumerist to link to her one sided article.

      • obits3 says:

        Sexism is shown in believing that only men can be abusers. I was just pointing this out. I have been through abuse with my mother – physical, emotional, and financial. That is why this article’s bias ticks me off.

        • Applekid ‚îÄ‚îÄ‚î¨ Ôªø„Éé( „Çú-„Çú„Éé) says:

          To be fair, the site is called “girlsjustwanttohavefunds”, so it’s bias is definitely showing.
          Thankfully the Phil’s summary took a much more honest approach than the “1. Possess penis 2. Oppress women” stereotype.

  8. sunshine2go says:

    It takes two people to make a victim. For some reason, women seem to allow this to happen more than men. Also, it’s hard when little children are involved and the woman doesn’t know there are ways to support the family without the father. Providing this hotline number is the first step to freedom from abuse.

    Separate bank/credit union accounts at different institutions, a way to earn money (even if it is re-cycling), education (whether self or from a school), and money management skills will help with self worth and will diminish fear.

    Do not let anyone isolate you from others. This is the first step in breaking the abuse cycle. Abusers love to do this. Then they beat you down with derogatory remarks aimed at making them powerful and you ashamed and feeling worthless.

    Unwilling to contribute and out-of-control spending are not necessarily tied to verbal/physical abuse. But, they can be a huge problem for young and old couples. This usually needs third party intervention. If not corrected, it will ruin the family and keep them in perpetual poverty.

    If I can change my life for the better, you can too. Don’t sit and cry! Take Action! Make the call, get books from the library, make friends, go back to school (even the library has classes), take walks with your children, learn to cook, grow things, repair things. If you make yourself a better, more knowledgeable person, things will happen.

    • sponica says:

      a friend of mine ended up in a controlling marriage and she has a masters in mental health counseling…by the time she realized what was going on it was too late. she discovered that for the 2 years or so that they were married, he put on a suit and pretended to have a job…her money would go into their bank account and he eventually drained it all.

      just because you know the warning signs doesn’t mean you see them in time….abusers/controllers can operate at slow speeds or change personalities once you get married (which is what happened to her, I think)

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      You might add, the most dangerous time for anyone who is with an abuser is when they are leaving. Especially women, because overall men are more likely to be violent–don’t flame, please, this has been documented quite extensively. Women are certainly capable of it but are less likely overall to do so. So the call is good because there are resources to help them leave safely.

  9. RayanneGraff says:

    Wow… that article could have been written about my ex.

    Back in 07 when we were together, and I had a crappy job at Radio Shack which paid just enough to pay for the phone bill, gas, and my half of the rent. He had a good job that allowed him to pay his bills & with money left over to spare, except he refused to share at all. One month when I didn’t have enough to pay my part of the rent, rather than cover it for me like any decent, caring partner would have he made me pawn my computer. He monitored my spending, and when he found out that I bought a 75 cent big gulp whenever I went to work, he berated me for hours & called me fat. He tracked my mileage & wouldn’t let me spend money on gas cause he thought I was using it to go see other guys, and when it came time to buy his pot and pills, he spent MY money on it. He made me take the texting package off my phone & would check the Sprint website to make sure I wasn’t texting anyone(which caused problems with my boss because his preferred method of making employee announcements was via text). He purposely cleaned out my bank account & overdrew it so bad that it got shut down, and my phone got shut off too when I couldn’t pay the bill(which is exactly what he wanted). He never got me pregnant or anything, but he did make me quit my job, and the mental & verbal abuse did turn physical.

    He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia a little over a year later, which doesn’t surprise me, but a guy(or girl for that matter) doesn’t have to be crazy to be abusive. There are always warning signs, do NOT ignore them!

  10. Mrs. w/1 child says:

    *vomits* uggg
    Manipulation is NOT abuse. Otherwise 3 years olds would be guilty of “abuse”. Let me say what a lot of men reading this post are thinking but can’t say because then they would be “defending an abuser”;

    Women are manipulated and abused just as Men are manipulated and abused – as mush as they allow themselves to be manipulated and abused and only as much as they allow. Also just because something is unhealthy doesn’t mean it is unhappy.

    I can’t wait until the psycho babble therapy group acronym filled apple dip trend is OVER.

  11. C. Ogle says:

    By the title I was hoping to find some tips to fight back against my utility, cell phone, and cable companies when they keep jacking up my monthly fees to unreasonable levels.

    Instead I am presented with the plot of a Lifetime Network original movie.